This morning I watched as city utility employees trimmed trees in front of my house in St. Charles. One man stood in the bucket lift high above the street as the other man guided it up and over electric wires, and between tree branches. It certainly wasn’t a smooth ride for the poor chap in the bucket. He was vigorously jerked from side to side and up and down all along his journey to the spot that needed trimming. The bucket moved in quick spurts and abrupt stops, shaking the hapless fellow violently about like an afternoon martini.
If it were me up there, I would have been terrified. I would have dropped to my knees and hung onto the bucket sides for my dear life. But Mr. Utility Man was obviously a pro at this bucket riding thing. He never flinched or grabbed the bucket for balance during his rough journey. I found it interesting that he only focused on his eventual destination. Never once did he glance down to make sure the operator was paying attention. Not once did he look around as his bucket lurched dangerously close to the wires. He just kept his eyes fixed on where he was going… He had a lot of trust in that bucket operator.
The spiritual analogy is obvious. I wish I could trust God the way that utility worker trusted his bucket operator. I wish I could keep my eyes focused on the destination instead of all the daily distractions. It seems like I look everywhere except at God as I traverse through my days anxious about the news, obsessively planning my schedule, stressing about work, worrying about my deadlines, annoyed by tweets.
But none of those concerns are valid. All the worry is so unnecessary. My bucket operator is a pro. He is more than able to expertly guide the bucket of my life into the exact position where I need some pruning. It probably won’t feel like a smooth ride. Life is bumpy. That’s a guarantee. But my fears don’t accomplish anything but to give me ulcers. I’m not the one maneuvering this bucket and God doesn’t need my help. He’s got this. Really he does. My microscopic problems are a happy little skip through the park for the Almighty Creator of the Universe.
My brain knows these things. How do I get my fearful heart in step? How do I get to that perfect peace of God? Is it really possible be anxious for nothing?
Yes, I think, maybe.
Isaiah says that God will keep the person whose mind is stayed on him in “perfect peace.” (Is. 26:3) And Paul said the key is “in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 4:6-7) In everything…
And that, my friends, is the secret. Humble prayer. Gratitude. It’s all about focus and trust… it’s all about fixing our eyes on the author and perfecter of our faith. Turn off the news for a moment. Logout of Facebook. Shut off the television. Power down that video game. Just take a break. Give yourself a regular recess from the rat race. Five minutes is better than no minutes. Ten minutes better still. Twenty… Carve out some time in the day to get quiet and focus on our eternal destination. Trust that God really is in control. Have faith that he knows you and loves you and has a plan for you. Rest in that. Believe it. Pray to him. Thank him. Trust him. In EVERYTHING.